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Social Anxiety Disorder
Clinical Definition A persistent fear of one or more social or performancesituations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he or she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms) that will be embarrassing and humiliating.
Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy has been shown to be effective for Social Anxiety Disorder. Through ERP, we work together to discover the specific triggers for your social anxiety. We then simulate a similar experience —visiting a mall, preparing a public speech, or sparking a personal conversation, for example—and address your anxiety at its root. By actively confronting anxiety in real-life situations, your fear will gradually lessen as your confidence grows.
Available Programs for Social Anxiety Disorder
At GPS Psychology & Anxiety Clinic, we offer several programs for social anxiety disorder based on your needs:Individual Therapy Meet with a highly-skilled therapist trained in Exposure Response Prevention. We’ll primarily meet in our office, but feel the best method for treating social anxiety disorder is venturing out into the community where your anxieties thrive.Group Therapy The Adult Anxiety Group is open to anyone 18 or older struggling with anxiety. Meet with others facing similar challenges, gain support from your peers, and share your experiences. Similarly, the Teen Anxiety Group offers a safe environment for teens between the ages of 12 - 17 to meet, connect, and support one another.
Working with Parents
You are not alone and we can help. Our team has extensive experience working with children and teens. But we believe working with parents is equally, if not more, important. We educate parents on understanding anxiety and recognizing the difference between anxiety and stress. We also help with identifying well-intentioned behaviors that may be maintaining your child’s anxiety. Most importantly, we train parents on active listening enhancement and using empathy to build stronger problem-solving skills.
Parent's CornerSocial Anxiety Disorder often manifests during the teen years. For parents, watching your child withdraw from social situations can be heartbreaking. It can be challenging to know what to say or how to help. Parents of younger children may find it difficult to distinguish between simple shyness or the onset of social anxiety. Below is a list of common behaviors in children suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder:Avoids eye contactFearful of criticism (“What if I do something stupid?...What if I do or say the wrong thing?”)Tantrums or crying when faced with a social situationReluctant to order in restaurantsRefusal to go to schoolAvoids eating in publicReluctant to use a public restroomExcessive worry about appearanceDoesn’t like raising their hand in classSaying “I’m sorry” oftenAsking for reassurance (“Are you mad at me?...Do you still like me?”)
If you suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder, you may feel isolated. You may be unable to make new friends or meet a romantic partner. Your anxiety may keep you from speaking up in meetings or even eating in front of others. Social Anxiety Disorder can be intensely lonely, but you’re not alone. You share it with nearly 15 million American adults.